Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Community Garden Of The Year 2010!

We were shocked and surprised when SOIL FOR LIFE presented us with this award in December!
They have undergirded us from the beginning, and the success of the Food Garden is largely due to the training we received from them.
Thank You, Pat and Sandi and the Soil For Life Team for this acknowledgement. It means a lot to us!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Circle is 1 year old!

On Saturday, 25th September we celebrated the first anniversary of the birth of the Woodwind Circle Community Gardens. A special birthday cake was made in honour of the occasion!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Cape Town's Mayor visits us

We were pleasantly surprised by a fleeting visit from the Mayor and Mr Morkel during the week. With newspaper reporters in tow, they quickly visited the gardens, had their photos taken, and left. Pity we didn't get a chance to talk or give him a proper guided tour (which we're getting quite good at, considering all the foreign visitors we've had over the past months). We would have loved to pull and present him with some fresh carrots or a lovely lettuce from the food garden. Oh well, maybe next time...

The flowers are in bloom everywhere. The lavender is looking particulary beautiful at the moment, and so are all the gazanias which were planted to hide the tyres a year ago. I think they've done a spendid job, don't you?

Spring is here!

We've enjoyed tasting kohlrabi for the first time, and we were pleasantly surprised at the delicious taste. We had them stuffed and baked... yum!

The seed beds are being sowed with the summer crops' seeds every 3 weeks in rotation. There are 3 of them, so hopefully they'll keep all the other beds well stocked.

Carrots are doing really well now, and it's so exciting to pull them and see how huge they are. It's important that we have at least 2 rows of carrots in each bed at all times, to ensure a steady harvest.

The peas on the tripod frame are ready for picking and we included some in a butterbean curry last week, which was really tasty.

We've planted herbs in tyres in every available spot. There are also four 1-metre square potato patches, a pumpkin patch, strawberries patch and 2 hills for squashes and melons. This is the first time we're growing all of these!

The fennel has been a great hit! Not that anyone around here (besides us) eats it, but because they such hardy plants and seem to tolerate all types of weather too! We made the most delicious fennel risotto, which we've been bragging about to all our friends, gladly pulling some fennel for them and passing on the recipe to try. We enjoy the risotto so much, we laughingly said last week that we're going to make it every week!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Garden gets a Spring Clean

The caretaker, Jeffrey takes pride in keeping the gardens looking great! The old winter growth has been removed to make room for the new shoots of Spring.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Food Garden update... months later

Sadly, it has not gone as we anticipated in the food garden. The community are not getting involved, as we had hoped. Back in March, we offered a plot to anyone willing to come and work it, and reap their own harvest as reward. A few came forward and showed interest, but never returned. We don't know why and haven't had the time or energy to find out either. The result? The bulk of the work rests on two of us, to plant, weed, water, sow, transplant, plan ahead for 40 food plots. The task is daunting. It beats me how able-bodied men can sit around and watch women carting wheelbarrows, hauling huge bags and digging hard ground, without offering to help. But it happens, often.

The children are more enthusiastic about it than the adults. Recently, we were blessed to have the voluntary services of two dear friends Jeff & Rosalind, who offered their Saturday mornings to help us prepare the garden for the summer crops. Rosalind is an ex-gardening teacher from a Waldorf school, and the children love her gentle manner and huge amount of patience, as she teaches them about gardening.

Next time I'll tell you about all the things we've planted, and hopefully have some pics to show too!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Tar is Done!

Doesn't it look amazing? We are so thankful to the City Council, Gerald Morkel, Asanda, Basil and all the others who made this possible! They even gave us Basketball nets with stands just in time for the looong school holidays coming up...
Any volunteers willing to organise some games?

Monday, May 31, 2010

Food Garden Update

View of the food garden from the roof of our house
One of the children proudly posing with his first turnip from his own vegetable plot!

We finally planted "Rooti", who is an avocado tree, grown lovingly from a seed started by Ruth a year ago on our kitchen windowsill!

One of the residents admires his lovely turnips just pulled from his vegetable plot.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Look at me now... 6 months later!

We began planting in September 2009 and these photos were taken in March 2010. Amazing, isn't it!?

Medicinal Herb Garden

Near the Food Garden, is a fairly large piece of land, which has been dedicated as the Medicinal Herb Garden. Our idea is to revive the age-old use of plants for common ailments in the community. Without our knowing it, we already have many medicinal plants growing all around the Circle! Slowly we are taking cuttings, transplanting and sowing seeds to add to this immensely important part of the Garden.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Donations - Thank You!

We were blessed by The Garden Shop in Constantia, who gave us loads of seedlings, plants and even proteas and trees!
Through FreeCycle we were able to get this shadecloth for the Food Garden.
Thank you!!!

Easter... and Sarah is back!

The children enjoy playing on the grass near the swings.
Lining up to receive their easter egg parcels, kindly made by Aunty Valerie.

Searching for chocolate eggs in the garden. The clue for this one was: "What recycled material was used to make the pathways?"

Sarah White gathered all the children on the Circle. The clue to find some of the chocolate eggs was: "What do we do with rubbish on the Circle?" The answer was to throw it in the green Council bins, where we had taped some eggs underneath.

While others were hiding the eggs around the Circle gardens, Sarah entertained the kids with a colouring-in contest.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Food Garden Begins...

All the residents were invited to have a vegetable plot in the food garden for a nominal fee of R20 to cover running costs. At the end of the digging, we had over 30 plots. 15 Adults and 14 children have taken plots. The remaining plots will be taken care of communally by the food garden group.
Children planting seedlings in their own vegetable plot.

The children were excited at the idea of having their own vegetable plot. They enthusiastically helped to fill the trenches.

Final addition of soil and compost being added to one of the residents' vegetable plots.

The trenches are filled with layers of 'dry brown' and 'green wet' and topped with soil and compost.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Jeffrey and friends

This is our hardworking caretaker, Jeffrey, who faithfully works on the Circle every day, rain or shine. Most of the residents contribute towards a salary for him, others give him food or clothing. This photo was taken on his birthday in February.

These are Jeffrey's friends Ryan, Mario and Phillip, who all helped to dig the trenches in the food garden.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

February updates

See how the pond area looks now!
Rockery next to pond area.

An enthusiastic resident varnishes the benches early one morning.

The compost heaps are turned for the first time. They are looking good after only 3 weeks! There are no traces of all the rotten greens we sandwiched in-between the layers.

Inside view of a curved trench bed in the food garden. Below the layer of gravel (as hard as concrete!) is white sea sand! Deep trench gardening is the only way to go with soil like this. We are driving to veggie people each week begging for their rotten greens (and then having to sort it all out by hand to eliminate the plastic packaging - yuck!)
We have even 'hi-jacked' bakkies (vans) loaded with garden refuse and persuaded them to come and off-load on the Circle! So far 5 curved trenches have been prepared around the central tyre. A further 5 straight beds, 3m x 1m wide are being dug with pick-axes and muscle power in sweltering heat and howling South-Easter winds. Our consolation is that this hard labour is a once-off event, as the trenches will never have to be dug again!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Food Garden update

Thanks to the generosity of friends and residents, a rail is installed so that the big gate can slide open.
The first of 5 compost heaps

The tractor tyre in the center of our 'meeting ring' is planted with different herbs.

The very first meeting taking place in the Food Garden.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

New Year ... New Beginnings!

Thanks to donations (both local and abroad), we have been able to put up 3 new benches and begin to work on the pond area (the pond was also donated).

And finally... our Food Garden fence is up! With thanks to Mr.Morkel and the City Council who provided the materials and to several residents who provided the labour!

Soon the gates (also donated) will be fitted, after they have been cut to size.

The Food Garden Committee will be meeting on 26 January for the first time to begin planning. We need a ton of organic waste for the deep trench gardening (which is essential due to the soil consisting mainly of gravel and sea sand!). We will have to mobilize the community and approach vegetable vendors to make this happen.